'Religious Freedom' Bill Would Amend Constitution to Enshrine Anti-LGBT Hate Into Law
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Missouri's seven Democratic senators have now been filibustering a "religious freedom" bill to amend the state constitution for a full 24 hours. The bill would allow anyone or any business that claims a sincere religious objection to same-sex marriage or LGBT people the "right" to not serve them.
Lawmakers took up SJR 39 Monday at 4:00 PM local time. The debate turned into a filibuster several hours later, and overnight senators teamed up, working in groups of two, to help each other stay standing and talking.
They were not required to speak directly on the bill, although conversation and commentary always came back to the anti-gay ordinance. For many hours lawmakers read a list of 1500 local Missouri individuals and businesses who oppose the legislation, chatting when they saw the name of a familiar coffee shop or constituent. A discussion of the taste of protein bars took place after one storeowner opposed to the bill offered to donate some energy bars to hep keep the senators going.
The Missouri state legislature has a record of the longest filibuster: 30 hours. The Democratic lawmakers have promised to break it. One even promised he would keep going through Thursday.
At another point Tuesday morning, lawmakers speaking on the bill talked about all the LGBT people in their lives and how much they love them.
Republicans were allowed to ask questions and there was plenty of debate on SJR 39.
The seven Democrats are Senators Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Jill Schupp, Jason Holsman, Scott Sifton, Jamilah Nasheed, Kiki Curls, and Gina Walsh.
Former Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, who bravely filibustered an anti-choice bill, sent this tweet: